Alumni Council

Made up of 25 alumni appointed to three-year terms and the president of the Student Alumni Association, this board meets three times a year at WIU. Members represent the interests of alumni and serve as liaisons to 25 University areas. The council assists in the recruitment of students, selects Alumni Award recipients, and was instrumental in establishing the Student Alumni Association.

NEXT MEETING: Saturday, April 13, 2019
Macomb, Illinois

2019 Alumni Council Meetings

  • Saturday, April 13
  • Friday, August 9 and Saturday, August 10 - Alumni Council Reunion Weekend
  • Friday, October 4

John SandersA letter from the Alumni Council President

Dear Fellow Leatherneck Alumni and Friends,

In my last letter, I wrote of the Winds of Change at Western and that Alumni must not stay on the sidelines. I challenged you to get involved. As I enter my second year as your President, I urge all of you to not only embrace the challenge, but also consider these examples of HOW you can and must make a positive difference for Western.

Here’s how YOU can make a difference NOW:

Be informed … NOW 

Know the facts about Western. Be wary of inaccurate rumors, social media traffic, and even newspaper articles about the “State of Western” and other Illinois state universities. A major announcement was made in July of a new reorganization that will prepare Western not just now but for the future. Our University leadership has never been more challenged or more critically in need of our support than now and in the coming years. Please go the WIU website at for details of this exciting strategic plan that will be the blueprint of success for Western for years to come. 

Reconnect with your Alma Mater … NOW!

I encourage you … no, I urge you, to take a trip back to Macomb and visit the campus and the town that made your college days so special. Much has changed yet much remains the same from the days when you attended Western. The campus has never looked better with the new recreation center, revamped and upgraded Student Union, Corbin-Olson remake, football stadium and other athletic facilities upgrades. You won’t even recognize your Alumni House—so beautiful.

What remains is the tradition of when you attended Western. The town even has new motels and a Buffalo Wild Wings! I still miss the Roe Boat, Walt’s Office and The Black Bull Taco House, but the new establishments are great. Come back to Western and rekindle those golden moments and that special spirit that made you so proud to be a Leatherneck—make a new and lasting memory.

Do something to help Western ... NOW!

People often ask me, “John, what can I do to help Western?”

You can help now with your time, influence and dollars. Every Western graduate has one of these three resources: 

Time -  Make it a point to not just talk about attending an alumni event in your area. Make the time to attend it and bring three or four of your fellow alumni that you still stay in touch with and perhaps consider starting with Homecoming 2018.

Influence -  Never has there been a more competitive playing field for incoming students to colleges and universities, especially in the state of Illinois. If you have a child or know of a high school junior or senior and can talk about Western personally, you will have helped recruit a talented freshman or maybe a group of friends from the same high school start a trend to GO PURPLE!  If thousands of you commit to doing this, one can only imagine the impact to our enrollment numbers now and in the future.

Dollars -  You are all aware of the financial struggles with the state of Illinois and the impact on Western. Although it has stabilized a bit, we must approach our financial model much differently than when most of us attended Western—almost like a private university in terms of financial funding and management. Please consider giving to Western during the year to support programs and students so that future young men and women can enjoy the Western tradition and Leatherneck pride that you cherish, and they so richly deserve. Planned giving programs are another excellent way to leave a legacy to your alma mater that will have meaning and live on forever. Every dollar makes a difference!

We can do this. YOU can do this. Make a difference NOW! You will feel great knowing that you are changing the world for the students of Western for the better and for the future. The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do. LETS DO THIS!


John's Signature 

John Sanders ‘74

President, WIU Alumni Council

P.S. Feel free to contact me directly at any time at When was the last time you visited Western? #WIUHomecoming 2019 is October 4-5 … be there, if not before!

Alumni Council Members Sought

The WIU Alumni Association is looking for dedicated leaders of all ages, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, career fields, etc. to serve on the WIU Alumni Council. If you or someone you know is an active alumnus that would be a good candidate, please fill out an online application form. The deadline is March 1.

2018 - 2019 Council Members


Alumni Council Featured Member

Martin O'Connor '78Marty

Degree: BS in Agriculture Sciences, 1978


Business Information:  Retired after 34 years of service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Currently, President of O’Connor Consulting and Management, LLC – assisting the livestock and meat industry with regulatory and marketing challenges.

Advice for Freshmen: The bestselling author H. Jackson Brown, Jr. has provided this quote which I find a very good motivator:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Favorite WIU Memory: Participating on the WIU Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Team.  This afforded me many opportunities and provided the springboard for my future career.

Family/Hobbies: I have been married to Melissa since 1989 and we have one daughter, McKenzie,  who was born in 1992.  Melissa and I reside in Round Hill, Virginia. I enjoy golfing and our family treks to the ocean as often as we can to enjoy the beach.